Most people have heard of root canal treatment, and quite likely, the tales of pain that are sometimes associated with it. However, please read on and we will try to dispel some of these myths.
So what exactly is root canal treatment and are the tales of pain justified?
Root canal treatment is only needed when the soft tissue inside the tooth, which includes the nerves and blood vessels, becomes infected by the bacteria which live in our mouths, usually through tooth decay, leakage of fillings or possibly trauma, such as a fall. Failure to treat this infection usually results in tooth infection causing intense pain and eventually a dental abscess. It is not unusual for a tooth to have more than one root.
In order to treat the infection in the root canal, it is essential that the bacteria be removed. This can be done by removing the tooth or by attempting to save the tooth through undergoing root canal treatment.
Through root canal treatment, the bacteria are removed from inside the root canal, which is then filled and the tooth sealed with a crown to prevent future fracture. Although this is likely to cause inflammation at the end of the tooth, this will usually heal naturally. The whole procedure is performed in one dental visit unless a course of antibiotics is prescribed by the dentist as described later.
Despite the many horror stories that have been disseminated about the pain of root canal treatment, there is absolutely no reason why this should be the case, as treatment is carried out under local anaesthetic and should be no more painful than having a filling. Much of this myth perhaps stems from the fact that in some cases, an abscess is present initially which causes much of the pain. The dentist may decide to drain this to relieve the pressure and may prescribe antibiotics to remove the abscess before carrying out the procedure once the antibiotics have taken effect.
After root canal treatment, in most cases, the tooth should last for up to ten years. However, because the nerve has been removed, no pain can be felt but decay can still take place. Because of this, it is still important to take regular care of the affected tooth through the regular dental hygiene of brushing and flossing. Our Harley Street dentist will be pleased to advise you on the best course of treatment available.